More Than Just the Weight of a Mattress

What began as a senior thesis, has now taken shape into a movement. Emma Sulkowicz was only a sophomore at Columbia University when she says she was raped in her dorm room, according to the Huffington Post. Now as a senior, she is doing a performance art piece called "Carry That Weight."


  1. In her art piece, the visual art major is carrying her blue, twin mattress around campus until she graduates or her rapist is expelled from the university. This comes after Columbia University has been scrutinized by the press and its students for not protecting its students after several allegations of rape on campus, according to Jezebel.  
  2. According to The New Civil Rights Movement, Emma is one of the 23 women who have filed a complaint against Columbia in federal court because they did not feel safe on campus. The University took no action in expelling any alleged rapists. 
  3. In this video published on YouTube by Columbia Daily Spectator, Sulkowicz says that, "A mattress is a perfect size for me to just be able to carry it enough that I can continue with my day, but also heavy enough that I have to continually struggle with it."
  4. Emma Sulkowicz: "Carry That Weight"
  5. Sulkowicz no longer has to carry the weight alone. Since her decision to do this art performance piece, fellow students and friends have helped her carry her mattress for her across campus. Her story has gone viral with the Twitter hashtag #carrytahtweight, a Facebook page, and a website that popped up quickly. A Barnard student Allie Richards created a website to gather together people to help Sulkowicz carry her mattress at: .
  6. Carrying the Weight Together
  7. On Friday, September 12th, beginning at noon, Columbia students had a rally called "Stand with Survivors" on campus. Many students told their own stories of how they had been raped on and off-campus. Alumni Calvin Sun said he was proud of the rally and said there are many supporters outside of campus. Student Marybeth Seitz-Brown said, "I know that the only way that we are going to get over this…is if we are no longer hiding it and isolating ourselves. And if we know that our shoulders and arms and backs will stop aching, not because there is silence but because the conversation is building and building until suddenly all of us are carrying this weight so that none of us have to." 
  8. Stand with Survivors rally
  9. Twitter has blown up with people supporting the movement at Columbia. 
  10. I support the movement & until something is done... #carrytheweight
    I support the movement & until something is done... #carrytheweight
  11. Even students at Princeton have become part of the movement and people across the world have left comments of support on the Facebook page. 
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  13. Even though Sulkowwicz's performance piece has inspired many students and alumni from around the world to stand up against assaults on women, she says that she looks at her thesis as more "art than protest," according to The Cut in the article below. In fact, she says that the reporters that have followed her around have been "triggering rape memories," and she has been afraid of them.