Friday, February 16, 2018

Stelena Will Always Be Swoon Worthy

The theme for February blog posts is swoon worthy, and I’d like to discuss one of the most swoon worthy couples from pop culture—Stelena (Stefan and Elena) from the television show The Vampire Diaries (TVD). A television show can still be a good learning tool for writing a YA romance because the audience of TVD is YA.

One thing that makes Stelena a swoon worthy relationship, and more epic couple than Delena (Damon and Elena) is that Stelena had more substance. From the second Delena got together in Season 4, they just kept hitting the sheets—as if that is a substitute for Damon ever becoming a better person or for a substance to develop in their relationship. That is not to say that sexual content is bad. It isn’t. And it deserves its place in pop culture (including YA pop culture)—but sex does not equal a relationship. So, while Stelena might not have hit the sheets that often when they date, at least they have substantial scenes—like when Stefan reveals to Elena that he’s a vampire (early on in Season 1) because he doesn’t want to lie (despite how he might risk alienating Elena).

Another reason why Stelena is a swoon worthy couple is because they are not toxic. When Elena is with Damon, she’s a different person. Sure. An argument can be made that being with Elena makes Damon a better person. But Elena should not become a different person just because of the man she’s dating. For example, part of the way she becomes a different person is that she no longer cares about morality when she’s with Damon. Like in Season 5 when Damon once again threatens the safety of Elena’s brother, Jeremy, yet Elena doesn’t seem bothered. Also, the old mantra, “if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it’s duck” applies. In Season 4 Episode 23, Elena admits her choice to be with Damon is probably going to be the biggest mistake of her life. Well, news flash: but that’s not exactly a good thing to feel about a relationship. Furthermore, viewers see Stefan’s morality because he puts being a good person above dating Elena when he bargains with Klaus for his blood so Damon’s fatal werewolf bite can heel. That kind of deed reveals character since Stefan puts his brother’s wellbeing over his romantic desires.

Respect is another important element of a swoon worthy relationship. And I’m not just talking about consent with sex. Consent applies to other situations too. For instance, towards the end of Season 2, Stefan didn’t force feed Elena vampire blood so she can come back to life when she is in danger, yet Damon force feeds Elena his blood despite her not wanting to be a vampire. Sorry. That’s gross. Respect is also present after Stefan and Elena break up. He never challenges her decision to be with Damon whereas Damon never respects boundaries and always flirts with Elena when she dates Stefan from Seasons 1 to the beginning of Season 4. The contrast is clear. Life does become grey at points, but not to at the expense of disrespecting boundaries.

Anyway, the above is just my initial thoughts about why Stelena is more swoon worthy than Delena, as I have barely scratched the surface on the topic. The point is, having a good guy as a love interest should not be frowned upon when writing YA fiction. Sometimes the nice guy really is the better man.


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