Extremism has negative impact on positive movements

Savannah Arenas

America has certainly lived up to its namesake of being “the land of the free,” especially when compared to many of the countries around the world. Despite embracing this motto, the freedoms granted are constantly being taken advantage of by various extreme individuals. The very definition of an extremist is a person who holds fanatical views, and especially one who advocates extreme action.

One of the most controversial issues is the lack of gender equality. It’s true that women have made impressive progress, and in fact, June of this year will mark a century of women’s suffrage. The 19th Amendment of 1919 was the first major stepping stone for women and amazing feminists such as Alice Paul and Margaret Sanger.

Powerful women of the early 19th century weren’t the first to demand equal rights, but by then they gathered an impressive voice. Feminism created an empowering movement for women across the country and sought to gain the rights they were unjustly denied in the founding of our country.

The foundation of early feminism was grounded in achieving equality but radical feminists demanding women be recognized as superior, derailed progress. These extremists often resulted in violence and increased gender tensions, suffrage reluctance, and generally slowed down the progress being made by many active feminists.

New age feminism has been infected with this same radical feminism, and has been overrun by the media’s perception of these extremists. Women continue to fight wage gaps, sexual harassment, domestic abuse, and countless other obstacles. The ability to seek solutions on these issues are being impeded by the work of so called “tumblr feminists”.

These undeniably extreme feminists are often perceived as the faces of feminism when they don’t represent feminist values in the slightest. With the help of various social medias, they’ve created a hostile personna with a common message of, “all men are bad,” and “women are superior”. This mentality is a prime example of sexism and their actions are working against the goals of true feminism.

Unfortunately extremists don’t only ruin the meaning of feminism, but are creating disadvantages for countless others. Extremism exists in many forms from political to religious views. The work of Islamic extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and Isis have created a xenophobic streak in Americans against innocent Muslims.

This fear has led to police brutality, hostile citizens, and unjust treatment at the expense of Muslims. Their right to exercise freedom of religion results in a disgusting reaction from close-minded Americans, and they can thank ignorance as well as the actions of extremists.
Perhaps the most terrifying example of this is the work of shooters, especially school shooters. There are countless ways to deal with intense emotions, and even ways to approach bullying. These often unbelievably angry radicals take lives to coincide with their twisted morals. School shooters often are victims of bullying or are frequently mentally ill individuals with unmanageable anger. Other shootings often stem from multiple forms of racism, homophobia, or unresolved rage.

Examples of the destruction extremists cause can be seen all throughout history, and the trend hasn’t stopped. They work against honorable causes and offer an outlet for hateful ideals. The great thing about America is that we all have the right to our own opinion, and although I certainly don’t agree with their beliefs, I recognize the freedom to have those beliefs as a good thing because it also creates an outlet for positive beliefs.

No matter what the extremists try to accomplish, their tactics are hostile, unproductive, and too often damaging to Americans all over the nation. They prohibit any type of progress for multiple positive movements and foster hate bred by aged misunderstandings and traditional opinions. Radical feminism is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the damage these individuals can cause, illustrating how listening and respecting each other is critical no matter the topic of discussion.