Fatherhood has experienced many transformations in the past years, as well as the institution of family and relationships between partners, parents and children. The social science discourse reflects those changes, but quite often through a prism of values and ideologies, and only rarely is gender neutral. This article presents today's discourses of fatherhood, their paradoxes and one way streets in which they sometimes end. Fathers today and especially those living in some of the 'new' family arrangement (divorced fathers, step fathers, lone fathers...) find themselves in a situation where no clear cultural models or scenarios of behaviour exist. Public and scientific discourses of fatherhood are divided between the image of a 'new' involved father on one side and of the 'feckless' father on the other. Both images are often used and misused to political purposes, but don't really reflect the reality of contemporary fatherhood.