That said, the most disturbing idea that gets kicked around the emotional chastity world is that having a crush is "really, kinda, sorta not any different from pornography." What?
First of all, if you're using pornography as a jumping off point for talking about chaste relationships, even if you're speaking about it in the negative, you are probably too disconnected from anything resembling love to be discussing the topic at all. Please excuse the italics but come on. "As a man may visually 'consume' pornography, objectifying the person, a woman may emotionally 'consume' a man, objectifying him through idealization and using him for the emotional benefits she may receive through her desire for the perceived fantasy relationship."
There, encapsulated in that one little paragraph, is everything that's wrong with the modesty/chastity movement, and everything that's wrong with the "men are wired, women are emotional" school of thought. We're all supposed to act like objectifying others is our default mode, and base our judgements of reality on that mindset. So if we believe that it's the default for men to treat women like sexual objects, which is a necessary prerequisite for many tolerated but problematic male behaviors among Catholics, then we have to pretend that women do the same thing, or at least something equivalent, or men will look bad by contrast. In these discussions on chastity no one wants to suggest that women have sexual temptations, so it has to be something else. Hence, porn that isn't actually anything like porn. How convenient.
I don't know about you, but I've certainly idealized men who didn't deserve it, but after I figured out what they were like, I stopped. This is called getting to know someone. It's what people do when they're not objectifying others. I've also felt real regret when men that I admired were no longer in my life. The fact that I was no longer "getting anything" from them, but that I still thought well of them, seems to indicate a lack of objectification, does it not? If you, as a woman, only admire a man to the extent to which he pays attention to you, that strikes me as a form of objectification on its own, although not as severe as one that turns a person into a sexual object.
There is a big, fat, ugly monster in the middle of these discussions on modesty, and it is that too many men wear their temptations against purity like a badge of honor. They know that it's wrong, because they have a conscience, so they project. "Actually, it's your fault." "Actually, you did the same thing." "Actually, this is just how I'm wired, so you are the one who has to change." These men are the ones with no respect for women, and they also tend to be the most vocal. Good men who treat women like human beings rarely offer an opinion on women's clothes or women's behavior, but they will tell you, if you ask them (and I have), something very different from what the modesty police have to say. They will tell you that they don't think it's that big of a deal when they see a woman in a swimsuit, because they see her as a person, and possibly as someone's daughter or wife. They might add something about self-control, if they seem interested in discussing the topic, which in my experience they usually aren't. Good men don't objectify women and then say, "Well, I can't help it if your kneecap made me [insert whatever it is that men like this do when objectifying women.] That's how I'm wired." Nobody is wired to do something evil.
Imagining what your first name looks like next to a man's last name isn't evil, and it's not the same as looking at perverted sexual images. If you can't tell the difference between these two things, which the author of the linked-to article clearly can't, then there is something wrong with your entire way of looking at human relationships. Yes, a woman's mind tends to spin out of control when she's first interested in a man, imagining marriage and growing old together and several generations down the road. I have never known anyone who died from this, nor have I known anyone who became incapable of having a relationship because of it. Normally this gives way with time to a more reasonable approach to the relationship: thinking about marrying someone looks very different after a year than it does after a few dates, and most women aren't silly enough to confuse the two. I would even argue that if you're on a first or third or fifth date and you haven't thought about how lovely it would be to be married to this man, and what you might name your children (at least two of the articles on EC warned against this pretty severely) then maybe you don't like him all that much and you should stop wasting his time. But no one says, "This is just how women are wired," even though it is, and we are, and it's not sinful, and it sure as hell bears no resemblance to pornography. So we have two problems here: one is that the very real and ongoing problem of men treating women as sexual objects* is being minimized and excused instead of being treated like the disgusting spiritual sickness that it is, and two, women are being shamed for doing something that is just a normal part of feminine life. Women are being shamed for being women.
If you turned this around, and compared a man envisioning himself married to a particular woman, one whom he's met and was attracted to even if he didn't know her very well, and said it was no different from a woman who spends all day having impure thoughts while reading Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm pretty sure no one would buy it. I wouldn't. Because on the one hand you have a person who is losing themselves in a vice and becoming more degraded, and on the other, you have someone who wants a real person to fulfil real and very human needs--marriage, family, love.
All of this comes from the fact that women value these relationships. If men value them as well, they will appreciate a woman's willingness to embrace them. If they don't, then that is a problem that needs to be addressed, because God didn't make human beings to hate marriage, family or love. And yet here are the same people claiming to value marriage who are doing everything in their power to make the basest tendencies of human nature the central deciding point for all behavior, and doing their best to destroy the human heart's desire to reach out to another human being. Satan hates love, in all its stages, including the early ones. I have no doubt about that.
When people are shamed for having emotions, and catered to for having sexual vices, I'm going to cry foul.
*Needless to say, women can and do use men as sexual objects, but it's usually called being promiscuous, and occurs seldom among the same people who discuss emotional chastity. For a great example of how common this is, read the comments on this humorous (or not so humorous) piece. "Yeah, he's an idiot, but I really wanted to get laid" comes up pretty frequently. That is treating a man like an object for personal gratification. Very different from having a crush that you hope will turn into marriage.