In truth I believe the mask to be insignificant to the real symbolism behind the historical face of the man who made the mask possible. After all, for the layman, the entire movie, the mask, and the graphic novel will give probably the most succinct history lesson regarding the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. I'll not go into detail here since to do so would only be to belabor the point except to say that the mask is symbolic of protest because it is an artistic representation of someone who many consider to be the architect and executioner of the failed Gunpowder Plot, Guy Fawkes, a.k.a. Guido Fawkes/John Johnson. In truth, Fawkes actually was only a mercenary who had been hired by the co-conspirators of the Plot to develop a way to implode Whitehall by explosion and thus assassinate King James I, whom had only recently become King of England barely two years earlier. Primarily the conspirators were prominent English Catholics who felt that James I Stuart's reign would bring about the marginalization and repression of their religious institutions and lives and thus, from that Catholic angst came the attempt to kill the man they felt was the center of religious intolerance. If people nowadays use the mask of a mere mercenary of a wider plot by which his only role was to develop a weapon capable of committing destruction and regicide as a form of protest, then clearly it is a symbol that has been subject to selective memory. In truth what the co-conspirators committed in that attempted Plot was nothing short of domestic terrorism no different than what extremist groups like the I.R.A. or al-Qaeda commit nowadays. So yes, I agree with you, the symbol has been altered, and while people who use a mask for protest nowadays clearly do not know the true meaning behind the mask. After all, the English Catholics who turned to terrorism in 1605 had at one time been protesters as well.