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SAG Awards 2020: Jennifer Aniston just won for Best Actress, so why is everyone talking about her nipples?

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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For her role in AppleTV+’s The Morning Show, Jennifer Aniston just picked up her second Screen Actors Guild Award. The only problem? The disappointing reaction on social media.

It’s been 24 years between drinks for Jennifer Aniston at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

24 years since the actor last won at the ceremony as part of the ensemble cast of Friends. In those intervening years, Aniston has been nominated eight further times, both for Friends and, later, the movie Cake. Finally, at this year’s ceremony, Aniston took home her second Screen Actors Guild award for her work on AppleTV+’s The Morning Show.

Here at Stylist, we’ve often lauded Aniston’s work on the series. (We’ve even called it her best ever performance.) As Alex, the long-suffering co-host of a flailing new program left to pick up the pieces when her male anchor is accused of sexual misconduct, Aniston is steely, determined and unflinching. 

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It’s some of her best work, either in television or cinema, and it’s thrilling to see the actor receive the awards recognition that her performance deserves. 

Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon at the 2020 Golden Globes.

“I’m so grateful,” Aniston said in her speech, thanking the writers on the show for creating “layered” and “complicated” characters for the entire cast.

“Who knew that emotional breakdowns felt that good?” Aniston joked. “It was literally like seven months of therapy covering 20 years of work, so thank you for watching that.” The actor also singled out her co-star and “partner in crime” Reese Witherspoon for praise. “It took 20 years but we did it, finally,” she enthused.

“For years I feel like we’ve kind of grown up together,” Aniston added, speaking to her fellow actors. “I know that the few times that I’ve been invited back into this room over the last 20 something years, it’s been so special the times that I’ve been invited. To be up here is truly an honour, thank you.”

It was an emotional speech, one that drew whoops and applause from the audience inside the room. But for those watching at home only one thing stood out. Aniston’s nipples.

Yes, you read that correctly. Jennifer Aniston, a woman, has nipples.

Stop the press! Hold the front page! We have some breaking news for the people of the world: a woman has breasts! And upon those breasts… Nipples!

Yes, it would appear that Aniston went bra-less to the Screen Actors Guild Awards. This might have been because attending an awards ceremony as a female celebrity is an obstacle course of grooming and beauty standards. Such an obstacle course usually necessitates wearing an elaborate gown, and wearing an elaborate gown – as anyone who has ever worn an elaborate gown knows – does occasionally require shedding certain undergarments all in the name of fashion.

Maybe this is what Aniston had to do when she zipped up the slinky ivory Dior slip picked out for her by her stylists Nina and Clare Hallworth. Or maybe she decided she simply didn’t want to wear a bra, as is entirely and wholly her right. (Or maybe, as one social media user appeared to suggest, she did so to try and “lure Brad Pitt back” with her “erect nipples”. Honestly.) 

Jennifer Aniston
SAG Awards 2020: Jennifer Aniston just won for the first time in 24 years for The Morning Show.

Sadly, though, even if she had worn a bra it wouldn’t have made a difference to the online chatter. Women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t when it comes to their undergarments. 

Wear a bra and you’ll see pearl-clutching headlines like the ones written about Meghan Markle when she dared to ‘reveal’ her bra strap at a wedding. Wear nipple covers and you’ll be subjected to sexist comments and complaints, like Amanda Holden was last year. Simply have breasts and cleavage, as Brie Larson and Natalie Morales have, and you’ll be forced to defend yourself on social media. 

The point is that we shouldn’t be talking about Aniston’s bra, or lack thereof, at all. We should be talking about the career-best work that Aniston is doing on The Morning Show. We should be talking about the scene in episode one when Aniston’s character confronts network executives – the only woman in a room full of men – and demands that they take her seriously. We should be asking when, just when goddamnit, we’re going to get the second season of The Morning Show back on screens.

Whether or not Aniston wore a bra to the SAG Awards is just about the least interesting thing about that awards ceremony.

What is interesting though, or should we say disappointing, is the fact that online commentators can’t seem to stop talking about Aniston’s nipples. Maybe those people would be happier if women such as Aniston dressed in shapeless sacks to hide their shameful bodies. If you’d like to get a glimpse of what that kind of world would look like, might we suggest watching The Handmaid’s Tale

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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