If you were Roman, you had a love/hate relationship with the wilderness. On the one hand, there were Silvanus — woodland deities — but then there was the Teutoburg Forest. The natural world was not something to be trusted or admired, only an obstacle to or opportunity for wealth. Thus the root Latin word of silva — a wood — gave us both the modern English word ‘sylvan’ [conjuring vistas of misty woody hills and frolicking fauna] and ‘savage’ whose definition is both lengthy and traumatizing.
Middle English: from Old French sauvage ‘wild,’ from Latin silvaticus ‘of the woods,’ from silva ‘a wood.’
adjective (of an animal or force of nature) fierce, violent, and uncontrolled.
• cruel and vicious; aggressively hostile
• (chiefly in historical or literary contexts) primitive; uncivilized.
• (of a place) wild-looking and inhospitable; uncultivated.
• (of something bad or negative) very great; severe:
noun (chiefly in historical or literary contexts) a member of a people regarded as primitive and uncivilized.
• a brutal or vicious person
verb (especially of a dog or wild animal) attack ferociously and maul
• subject to a vicious verbal attack; criticize brutally
Thanks to Hollywood, the image of shrieking warriors in little clothing and painted bodies charging innocent colonizers [ie. eco-tourists] who just happened to be white, nearly always male — except when helpless females were being threatened by the savage natives — and standing up for truth, justice and the way of the gun; we have a deep-rooted social bias towards those that live alternative lifestyles or off the land.
Naturists [as they preferred to be called] are considered perverts at best, secret pedophiles at worst. Vegans and the many off-shoots of vegetarianism that have evolved through the millenniums, are labeled with numerous unflattering and oftentimes hostile epithets. Environmentalists are flat out accused of lying in order to push their alleged agenda of destroying civilization if not outright extermination of the human race.
And outside of fiction, any savage who would physically strike another person is obviously a threat to the general public and should locked up as a primitive being. Unless you’re a boxer. Or a martial artist. Or an athlete in a contact sport. Or involved in consensual BDSM.