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A friend of mine recently brought up a good point about Cortana’s appearance. Below are his words (I have edited them for the sake of clarity):
Eve in the Garden of Eden…. Yes, Cortana is like Eve. The innocence, the beauty — all portrayed by Cortana. So dressing Cortana up would mean that you’re trying to hide that beauty. Or, let’s put it this way — you’re trying to protect her real self, her true identity. Which is, in itself, a masterpiece. So I personally don’t think she should wear clothes.
If you have read the X-Men comics or even seen the movies, you get a better idea of Mystique, a mutant who is so reminiscent of Cortana. Mystique liked to be her true self. She never liked to dress up…because she felt free without clothes. That is what she was. Free.
Cortana could have been inspired by Mystique, in a way.
What matters is Cortana and Mystique like to be free. So the external beauty of clothes…would be immaterial to them. They both are strong women. Free women.
At the heart of the subject that is Cortana’s appearance is, I think, a question: What does it mean to be naked?
The obvious answer to this question is “To not be wearing clothes.” But, I think there’s more to it than that.
I believe that the human body is inherently good.* But no one is perfect. We are prone to vices such as lust. Thus the body needs to be concealed in order to be protected.
In a perfect world, everyone could walk around naked and not have to worry about any consequences. But we don’t live in a perfect world.
Then there are characters like Cortana and Mystique. Cortana and Mystique who, as my friend pointed out, though being naked, are strong and free.
Cortana and Mystique won’t let anyone objectify them or harm them in any way.
One of the reasons for this, I think, is because they are naked. Wherever they go, Cortana and Mystique are, even if they don’t say anything, sending a message: Look beyond my naked body and see the person underneath.
By being naked, Cortana’s and Mystique’s outer beauty, mystery, and complexity is exposed for all to see. So Cortana and Mystique ask us to take a closer look: to see their inner beauty, mystery, and complexity.
In conclusion: This is what I think it means to be naked:
To not be wearing clothes.
To be strong and free, even though being exposed.**
To respect and appreciate the naked body, and at the same time look beyond it to see that what is on the inside is worthy of respect and appreciation, too.
For further reading: Another person’s thoughts on why Cortana looks the way she does
**What do I mean when I say “strong”? To be strong is to not be ashamed of any aspect of who you are. The human body is complex, mysterious, and beautiful, and deserving of respect. One of the things that I think makes Cortana and Mystique strong is that they acknowledge the complexity, mystery, and beauty of their bodies, and thus demand to be treated with respect. That’s one of the reasons why I think Cortana and Mystique are naked — to encourage us to act the same way. That doesn’t mean that they want us to go around naked, too: It just means that Cortana and Mystique want us to respect, and acknowledge the inherent goodness of, our bodies, and acknowledge the inherent goodness in others, and treat them with respect, too.
**What do I mean when I say “free”? To be free is to know that, when you are being looked at, the person doing the looking isn’t gawking at your naked body, but seeing you for you who are in your entirety — seeing what is not only on the outside (your body), but seeing what is on the inside (your heart and mind). To be free is to know that a person won’t take advantage of you or objectify you because you are naked. To be free is to know that you are safe.