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Posted Sat, February 19, 2011 9:00am EDT

6 Reasons Why The Vampire Diaries' Elena Is Better Than Twilight's Bella! Vote: Which One's YOUR Favorite?

Selfish, insecure Bella isn’t half the role model that strong, confident Elena is. Do you agree?

About 50 minutes into this week’s episode of The Vampire Diaries, Twitter exploded with love letters to Nina Dobrev. It was a big episode for Elena Gilbert, the kind that reminded us what a compelling and likable character she is — infinitely more so than her fellow teenage vampire layer, The Twilight Saga‘s Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart.)

Both girls have men risking their lives to protect them, but I never really understood why with Bella. Let Dakota Fanning have her, I say! And since I’ve never been able to pinpoint exactly why I feel the way I do about Bella, I decided to break each girl down to figure out exactly why Elena is so much better. Here’s what I found:

1. Bella is basically helpless: As a human, Bella falls into the “Lois Lane” category — and not in a cool Erica Durance way. If anything were to happen to her supernatural chaperones, she would be screwed. Elena, meanwhile, isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. And I’m talking ‘blood of one of the world’s oldest vampires on her hands’ dirty.

2. Bella is a pushover: Bella lets Edward boss her around, but Elena stands her ground and calls the shots in her and Stefan’s relationship. That may be why Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Elena fight more than Bella and Edward, but it’s better to get your feelings out. Unless maybe you prefer Edward’s dishonest, passive aggressive way of dealing with problems.

3. Bella is selfish: Everybody knows that girls who date vampires are kind of always on death’s doorstep, but Bella and Elena have very different motivations. While Bella selfishly wants to die so she can become a vampire and live with Edward forever, Elena wants to sacrifice her life solely to ensure the safety of her loved ones.

4. Bella puts herself before her family: Bella knows that becoming a vampire and running off with Edward means she’ll risk never seeing her parents ever again — but she does it anyway. The one who really puts the “love” in “loved ones” is Elena, who actually hides her relationship with Stefan in order to keep Katherine from tormenting her family.

5. Bella has no real friends of her own: You know it’s sad when your best friends wouldn’t even know you were alive if you weren’t dating their brother — and that’s pretty much Bella’s deal. I feel like, since she’s literally going to be with the Cullens for eternity, she should join an after-school and make some “outside” friends for now. Of course, Elena could also let Bella borrow some of her friends sometime — she has more than she can handle.

6. Bella can’t survive without a man’s attention: When Edward takes off in New Moon, Bella’s whole world falls apart. Outside of her relationship with Edward, she has trouble finding any real identity of her own. And Elena is once again Bella’s opposite. During her “break” from Stefan, she shares her personal philosophy: “I’m not going to be one of those pathetic girls whose world stops spinning because of some guy.”

Now tell me where you stand! Are you and I on the same page? I think my bias is pretty obvious here, so feel free to tell me you disagree.

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Special thanks to Lorena O’Neil for helping me fill in my many, many Twilight blanks.