Note: The reason for this post is because Cortana is a controversial character. One of the controversial aspects of Cortana is her appearance. She looks like a naked woman. As a result of this, the language in this post could be called explicit. Such language is, I think, necessary in order to talk about Cortana’s appearance.
Cortana has been called “sexualized.” Critics of Cortana have said that she exists to give men something to fantasize over. I can see where these critics are coming from: I use to think that too.
The reason I don’t think that about Cortana anymore is because I took a closer look at the human body and how it is portrayed in art. One of the ways I did this is by looking up art from the Renaissance and reading peoples’ thoughts on it. The reason I looked up art from the Renaissance is because during that period one of the types of art that was prominent was nudes. For example: Michelangelo’s David, and the art on the walls of the Sistine Chapel. These are examples of the naked body portrayed in art.
Now, you might be thinking “Such art is pornographic,” or “What separates this art from pornography?”
What separates nude art from pornography is intent.
The human body is complex, mysterious, and beautiful.
Nude art (like Michelangelo’s David) says to the viewer “See the mystery, beauty, and complexity of the human body.”
Pornography (like something you might find online) says to the viewer “Live your fantasies.”
Do I think that, in the Halo series, Cortana — an A.I. who looks like a naked woman — is being pornographic? No. Cortana doesn’t try and arouse the player, or any of the characters in the game, and she doesn’t draw attention to her appearance in any way. Being naked is just another aspect of her character. And Cortana looks like a naked woman naturally would. For example: Her individual toes, and bellybutton, are visible, and her breasts sag. (Her breasts aren’t unrealistically sized, sticking straight out, or shaped like balloons.) Her vagina and butt aren’t visible, but the reason why is, I think, because then Halo would have an Adults Only rating. (That is bad for sales.) Also: Being so explicit about Cortana’s nudity isn’t necessary: A cursory glance at Cortana in Halo 4 and you can tell she is naked.
What about portrayals of Cortana in art?
Here are examples of Cortana art that I think portray the beauty, mystery, and complexity of the human body, and the beauty, mystery, and complexity of Cortana herself:
To me, this piece illustrates everything that I love about Cortana:
1) Her protective nature.
2) Her angel-like appearance.
3) Her mystery.
4) That she is so human.
5) That she is strong.
This piece reminds me of paintings of Eve in the Garden of Eden.
About the piece itself:
The colors are so vibrant.
The grunt’s and Cortana’s facial expressions are so clear.
When I look at this piece, the first word that comes to mind is “Beautiful.”
This piece belongs to “Lady-Owl.”
Here is the link to where this piece comes from: http://lady-owl.deviantart.com/art/Guardian-Angel-336239499
When I think of Cortana being portrayed in art, the first word that comes to mind is “Vulnerable.” The reason why is because Cortana is naked, physically and emotionally. Cortana is not afraid to express her insecurities, though. She is not afraid to, implicitly, say “This is me. Will you accept me for who I am?”
This piece belongs to “REDHAWK99.”
Link to where this piece comes from: http://redhawk99.deviantart.com/art/Cortana-87094772
Cortana, seen from behind.
I like this piece because it gives us another aspect of Cortana to study.
The shading, and her clearly-defined muscles, make her look “solid.” I also like how her hands and lower arm press into her skin: It makes it look like Cortana is not a hologram.
This piece belongs to “Myrrie.”
Link to where this piece comes from: http://myrrie.deviantart.com/art/Don-t-make-a-girl-a-promise-337614301
Cortana, in this piece of art, is portrayed as easy-going and childlike, which I think are aspects of her character. Cortana isn’t some seductress. The art is being true to who Cortana is. The word I would use to describe Cortana in this piece would be “Natural.”
This piece belongs to “AkageSensei.”
Where this piece comes from: http://akagesensei.deviantart.com/art/Cortana-507947577