Everyone presumably understands by now that Gina Prince-Bythewood‘s The Woman King lies about the slave-trading history of Dahomey and particularly that of the Agojie, the all-female warrior unit that protected Dahomey during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Here’s the concise truth of it, laid out in an 10.5 Project Syndicate essay titled “Women, Life, Freedom and the Left.” The author is Slovenian philosopher and scholar Slavoj Žižek:

The Woman King is an historical epic about the Agojie, an all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.

“It stars Viola Davis as the fictional General Nanisca. She is subordinated only to King Ghezo (John Boyega), a real-life figure who ruled Dahomey from 1818 to 1859, and who engaged in the Atlantic slave trade until the end of his reign.

“In the film, the Agojie’s enemies include slave traders led by the fictional Santo Ferreira (Hero Fiennes Tiffin), a character loosely inspired by Francisco Félix de Sousa, a Brazilian slave trader who actually helped Ghezo gain power.

“Dahomey was a kingdom that conquered other African states and sold their people into the slave trade. While Nanisca is depicted protesting to King Ghezio against the slave trade, the real Agojie served him.

The Woman King thus promotes a form of feminism favored by the Western liberal middle class.

“Like today’s #MeToo feminists, the Amazon warriors from Dahomey will ruthlessly condemn all forms of binary logic, patriarchy, and traces of racism in everyday language; but they will be very careful not to disturb the deeper forms of exploitation that underpin modern global capitalism and the persistence of racism.

“This stance involves downplaying two basic facts about slavery. First, white slave traders barely had to set foot on African soil, because privileged Africans (like the kingdom of Dahomey) furnished them with an ample supply of fresh slaves.”