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I'm not gonna lie: when all this talk about Elena maybe being jealous when she saw Caroline dancing with Stefan began, I didn't know what to think. I was troubled by it and I didn't know what to believe. I was confused because it seemed really absurd and out of character for Elena, and because it seemed to me that there was a time and place for that kind of thing: (pre-season 4 would have been fine). But now? After all this? After she and Stefan had respectably ended their relationship, she had slept with Damon not once but twice, and she had told Damon on the phone that she was in love with him and it was the most real thing she'd ever felt, and after that, asked him to take the cure with her? How, I asked myself, HOW could Elena do and say all that to Damon and mean them...but still be harbouring feelings for her ex-boyfriend? It was so humiliating.
I took a look at the comments on YouTube from all the SE fans who were crowing over the fact that Elena was "so jealous" and even a comment from one person who said she didn't see how people could think Elena WASN'T jealous. "This is exactly how a jealous person acts, you don't admit to being bothered, you just go 'no no, I'm fine, TOTALLY fine and then find ways to bring up what you saw. 1) Elena felt the need to go over and say 'Oh look who finally decided to join the party' and she wasn't laughing and dancing, it was an accusation. 2) She felt the need to tell Liz that Car was flirting with Stefan (when she wasn't.)"
I asked myself one question: just what, exactly, does Elena have to feel jealous about? I re-watched the very short scene, and it struck me: absolutely NOTHING.
To re-cap: Elena is dancing on a table when she sees Stefan and Caroline laughing and dancing together. She stops what she's doing, goes over to them and says "Look who finally joined the party." Stefan asks her if she's jealous, but Elena denies it, saying "No that would be my emotions, and we've already established those are useless." When Caroline encourages her to come and dance with them, she declines the invitation. "You guys look good together," then goes back to the party. She's at the door, laughing with some other party-goers, when she meets Liz, and when she asks Elena where Stefan is, Elena replies that he's "busy flirting with your daughter. But I think he's a good rebound for her because of the whole Tyler thing." Stelena fans read the whole exchange as 'Elena-is-jealous-and-wants-Stefan-back.' But the more I thought about the scene, the weirder it sounded. Why on earth would Elena be jealous just because Stefan and Caroline are dancing? They're not slow-dancing; they're not holding hands, they're not touching in any way. All they're doing is laughing and enjoying themselves, and I would say that THAT is what Elena was most annoyed at. She knows that Stefan still cares deeply about her - trying to sweet-talk her out of her bad girl/vampire feeding ways, cajoling that "You're better than this," and temporarily knocking her out with a shot of vervain. Stefan does everything he can to keep her on the straight and narrow, and she knows it. "Your whole world revolves around me," she says at one point. "Maybe you're the one who needs to turn it all off." If Elena knows Stefan would sooner drive a vervain needle through his own foot than watch her go through the same guilt and suffering he went through, if she's so sure of her power over him (as evidenced by her stripping in front of him), then how can she suddenly get jealous when she sees him dancing with Caroline? Is she really so insecure? Is she really so shallow that as soon as she pushes one guy away she's going to want him back, immediately when she realises he might be interested in someone else? More to the point, how can Elena jump to the conclusion that because Stefan is dancing with Caroline and apparently having fun, then it automatically means he is 'interested' in her and is 'flirting' with her? Haven't Stefan and Caroline danced together before, in S2? Did Elena get jealous then? Look at the expression on her face when she sees them. Does she look crest-fallen? Wounded? Betrayed? Hurt? Upset? Shocked? There's no glimmer of any kind of pain or vulnerability lurking beneath the surface that you would expect to see if she was truly jealous. Wanting to be with someone who is into someone else hurts a heck of a lot. It's a lot more than making some snarky comments and then flouncing off. I know that her feelings are turned off right now, but that doesn't mean she can't feel anything. Jealousy is a very human emotion, and if you ask me, we didn't see her humanity showing in that scene at all. The only time I saw a flicker of humanity in Elena was when she was with Damon and he says "You don't want to be like this". The writers are taking the biscuit in a major way if we're to believe that Elena would feel jealous when there was nothing to be jealous of in the first place. The whole concept is ridiculous and turns Elena into a neurotic, unlikeable person. If her feelings have been turned off, how can she feel jealous of something so small, but not feel guilty or bereaved?
It was also pointed out on Tumblr that during her fight with Caroline, Elena did not use Stefan as a weapon to goad Car into a fight, like she did with Tyler and Klaus. Surely that's because Elena knows that Caroline isn't interested in Stefan, and their friendship (which has been there since S2), is strictly platonic?
I know a lot of people are disgruntled and unimpressed with Elena, and I think that's purely because they hate to see her so flighty with her emotions. They find Elena being 'jealous' of Caroline (for all the reasons I listed at the beginning, plus a lot more besides), nauseating. And that's where the hate comes from. Quite simply, they want her to be faithful and true to her feelings, and professing your love for one guy, and then acting 'jealous' when the guy you didn't want to be with is dancing with one of your friends, is not being faithful and true. It is being a child who discards a toy after becoming tired of it, then throws a tantrum when she sees another child playing with it. It is immature and hypocritical (saying one thing, then doing something else to contradict it), and there's a certain amount of unpleasantness involved whenever a person or character is insincere or disloyal. Come on guys. Do the writers honestly want their heroine to flip-flop between two guys , undecided as to who she really loves, and getting jealous and hostile if the one she turns away as much as smiles at another girl? Is that the heroine we're supposed to look up to and be rooting for? They could have done that in S2-3 perhaps, but not anymore. Not when Elena has slept with Damon and asks him to take the cure with her so they can be human together. Truthfully, I don't believe Elena was jealous in 4x16. (Even Carina MacKenzie, who is 'shipper neutral' when it comes to Delena and SE said "I think that seeing her and Stefan having fun bothered Elena just because she was pissed at Caroline altogether.") But I still feel sorry for the people who think she was. Because there's no way I would ever want Elena to be that fickle in the way she loved.
image credit: bibi88