London-based photographer Todd Antony recently photographed the Sun City Poms, a group of senior citizen cheerleaders, after spending time documenting the enormous, 37,000-person retirement community of Sun City, Arizona.
The Poms began in 1979 and served as cheerleaders for the Sun City women’s softball team, according to the Sun City website. The Poms perform at around 50 shows a year, and represent “fulfillment of life at any age.”
Performing with spunk and energy of their youths, these ladies are having the time of their lives while sharing positive aspects of retirement and aging, and shattering conventional images of “senior citizens.”
In photographing these rather unsual subjects, Antony said he was struck by how Americans view the aging process, and how these women go against all of our conventions about aging. While we typically think of the elderly as grandparents here to give us birthday money, play golf, and go to bed at 7:30, these women instead are cheerleaders, some of whom even do acrobatics. We associate cheerleading with nubile young teens or overly made up, sex-fueled Laker girls–it’s a sport imbued with sexuality. Even though we desexualize older women (and men, but to a lesser extent, see Hugh Hefner), the members of the Sun City Poms wear sexy uniforms and don’t make concessions because they’re older. Instead, they’re elegant, confident, joyful, and beautiful.
Photos: Todd Antony