part of the reason that I love Kylo Ren’s mask removal is that it shows that he is just human. Darth Vader hid a painful and grotesque scarring of the skin and needed help to breathe, so when we saw Kylo Ren wearing a mask, it was assumed that something had happened, or he had some sort of disfigured appearance/sickness/ect. When he took his mask off, it was to someone that he clearly had more than just feelings of animosity towards. It wasn’t to show whether he was hot or not -I personally maintain that yes, Adam Driver is attractive, but whatever, not important to the story at all- but it was to show that he was human. He was younger than she expected, not disfigured or marred by any disease or scarring. He intended to show Rey that he was just another human like her. Someone relateable and real. There is clearly some sort of pull to her, but I’ve also been delving into a lot of fan theories and I’ll save that tangent for another day.
Also, tbh, I think it’d be a little difficult for him to gain authority without the mask while working with the First Order. He’d be going around and demanding respect while looking like the sort of grungy whiny kid that used to smoke cigarettes back behind the school bleachers. Not really a serious sort of face for the First Order to get behind tbh. Without the mask, you see his lip quiver, and you see the uncertainty and fear in his eyes. He looks like he’s about to cry, dammit. The mask takes away what makes him a person, and it makes him a figurehead and symbol instead. You can’t stare a mask down and know whether or not you’re intimidating the person behind it. Not only can he ensure that people will follow orders, but if he ever has bouts of uncertainty or random nudges towards the light, no one will see it. No one will see him.
In that moment, he wanted to be seen. He wanted Rey to see him. I know there’s the whole joke about him just copying Vader, but I honestly have a lot of emotions about that mask and how masks in general are used in writing/cinema to make a point, and I’m incredibly pleased with how well they’ve done with Kylo Ren’s mask. Maybe, now that he’s killed his father and turned towards the darkness completely (as far as we know) he won’t wear a mask in the next movie because he won’t have a need to hide anymore. The person behind the mask is the same as the person that he was trying to be all along. Which really breaks mah balls because my god damn trash son has a lot of explaining to do, as well as a lot of apologizing. But I digress.
Masks in writing are amazing tbh. Symbolism and shit.