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In 2012, Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz claimed that she was raped. The university investigated, and found no evidence for the claim. In protest, Sulkowicz started an art project called “Carry that Weight,” in which she lugged her mattress around campus until her graduation last month. Even after dismissing the claim — and as questions about the veracity of the underlying allegation grew — the school endorsed the project as Sulkowicz’s senior thesis. Soon, images of her carrying her mattress went viral, and she became an international feminist icon. Many stories were written about her on sites like Salon, Jezebel, and Cosmopolitan. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand invited her to the State of the Union speech. Even fellow feminist icon and Girls star Lena Dunham tweeted her support:
Dear Emma, anyone who wants can call us anything they want, but you helped me to stand in my skin & I am so grateful: http://t.co/2H6dBzN6BX
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) May 21, 2015