Nobility, honesty, gentleness, honour, and virtue made a man a man, and these ideals did not change much from antiquity to early modern England The relationship between the imitation of the outside world within the theatre and the outside world itself, as well as the implications the theatrical performances had on this outside world, are a highly interesting topic, but very hard, if not impossible, to investigate satisfactorily.
Benedick basically compares marriage to a prison — saying a married man is a man who gets cheated on.
A woman legitimately criticizing a man does not go with gender roles in this society, and therefore Leonato feels the need to cover it up, belittling and dismissing what Beatrice has to say -- her honest opinion of Benedick. How does genre make a difference? Most women were more or less transferred from father to husband, and almost never led independent lives.
In the Elizabethan era women were considered to be more lustful than men and were therefore always suspect, fidelity and honesty were strongly interrelated for women then Novy She considers herself to be equal of some sorts with her wits, and attempts to defy the norms by vowing to not marry in order to keep her independence, but is aware that society does not allow her a true voice when it comes to defending herself or her friends.